Leading Jewish and Muslim groups have reacted furiously after a Tory MP was given “a mere slap on the wrist” for attending a “festival with fascists”.
Earlier this week, Daniel Kawczynski sparked uproar when he spoke at the National Conservatism conference in Rome.
Among the fellow speakers were Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s far-right prime minister who has been accused of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
The Conservative Party immediately came under pressure to suspend the Shrewsbury and Atcham MP. On Thursday, however, a spokeswoman only said Kawczynski had been given a warning.
She said: “Daniel Kawczynski has been formally warned that his attendance at this event was not acceptable, particularly in light of the views of some of those in attendance, which we utterly condemn, and that he is expected to hold himself to higher standards.
“Daniel has accepted this and apologised.”
However, the contents of his apology are not known, something picked up by the Jewish Labour Movement as it reacted to the news.
Read our reaction to the news that the Conservative Party issued Daniel Kawczynski with a warning before he attended the National Conservatism Conference pic.twitter.com/1jChxOyyqr— Jewish Labour Movement (@JewishLabour) February 6, 2020
It said: “We note what a spokesperson for the Conservative Party has said but we understand that Daniel Kawczynski was warned about attending the conference in advance. Is there a consequence for Conservative MPs who ignore such warnings?
“We have yet to hear what Kawczynski’s apology consists of and all we can judge him on are his Twitter likes supportive of his attendance at this festival with fascists. This also begs the question of who funded his trip in the first place.”
A Muslim Council of Britain spokesman said: “Serious questions must be asked about why this was allowed in the first place, why the party now feels it was unacceptable, and why it feels a mere slap on the wrist is sufficient.
“Kawczynski should have the whip removed, and be subject to a thorough investigation if the Conservatives want to claim, at least in this case, a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on all forms of racism.”
The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism also called for Mr Kawczynski to make a public apology, something his office did not have immediate plans to do.
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Other speakers at the conference included Ryszard Legutko, the Polish Law and Justice MEP who described homophobia as “fictitious”, and Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party who has promoted anti-Semitic figures.
Earlier this week, Kawczynski was unapologetic in an open letter to his local paper, the Shropshire Star, in which he dismissed the “hysterical criticism”.